fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "transfer of your funds" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- ",000,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "U.S. Department of the Treasury." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 03:56:50 -0600
Subject: U.S. Department of the Treasury.
DEPARTMENT OF INT'L AFFAIRS
(Office of the Under Secretary)
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington D.C. 20220.United States of America
Tel: +1-(202) 622-2000
Fax: +1-(202) 478-0979
Dated: Monday, April 16, 2012
IMF DIRECTIVES TO COMPLETE TRANSACTION
Strictly follow this security instruction below and do not disregard any letter from our department.
This message is to notify you that we have taken time to review your online email communication messages on your unsuccessful transactions with international inheritance/contract insurance and lottery organizations including foreign banks especially in Africa and United Kingdom. We want you to know that we have contacted most of these foreign banks to find out why your funds were withheld, the source of the funds and a final solution to this problem.
Conclusively, we discovered that your unpaid contract funds were not properly documented for an international fund transfer and we cannot let these foreign Banks continue to suspend your fund payment to your designated bank account.
Such transfer suspension was placed on your funds because majority of these international fund remittance/transfer of over the total sum of $500,000 and above to private European/Non European residence accounts abroad, usually carried out by foreign Banks, Private or Commercial Courier Companies were never properly recorded by the paying institution for future file reference/assessment by the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Services Authority.
In joint alliance with the International Monetary Fund to resolve this issue, we wish to let you know that we have been approved to assist you in receiving your funds but only the total sum of Five Million United States Dollars ($5,000,000.00 USD) was approved for payment in order to enable you start up your own business.
Through the assistance of the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) to investigate and release suspended, withheld and/or unpaid Inheritance/Award Winning/Contract funds to its beneficiaries account abroad, we were able to gain an approval authorization letter from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stated that your funds will be paid to you on proper confirmation of its claim.
We have gone through the security manifest booklet of all international outstanding transactions and our extensive investigation confirmed that you are the original owner of this fund. Therefore, we wish to inform you again that we are now making arrangements from our department to process and pay you the outstanding debt of $5,000,000.00 USD owed to you immediately you provide the complete requirements needed for the processing of this payment.
It is very important we state that your international transactions will never be released if you ignore this message and you are therefore advised to kindly acknowledge the content of this message by providing the information below for payment formalities.
- A scanned copy of your international passport or driver's license:
- Your direct mobile telephone number:
- Your present home address for document delivery:
By the virtue of the provision of the law which confer on us powers to advocate, adjudicate suspend and authorize an immediate transfer of your funds internationally, we hereby state emphatically and without prejudice that should there be any information that may succeed your application for unclaimed awarded fund release that are currently deposited in most foreign banks in Europe, Asia and in Africa, please do not hesitate to provide the information so that we will know how to help you receive your funds.
Failure to properly reply and provide the required information above will nullify your chances of receiving your unclaimed funds and this fund will be confiscated and made to be forfeited under the Money Laundering and Other Financial Crime Prohibition Act of 2003.
Timothy F. Geithner,
Foreign Assets Control.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.